Spending Time

Richard Quinn

AFTER 78 YEARS, my plumbing has gone awry, and I’m not talking about the kitchen sink. My doctor said something about my prostate having its own zip code. I’m waiting to have surgery and, because of fear of COVID, I’ve been quarantined for the past month.

We were supposed to be in Florida. For several years, we had rented a house using VRBO. Luckily, I was able to cancel within a week of our reservation date with no hassle. I received a full $10,000 refund within three days.

I’ve confirmed that Medicare works. I chose my own doctor and, thanks to my Medigap plan, my bills will be limited to the Part B deductible. Even my prescriptions—more in the last month than in my entire life combined—cost me copayments of $5.42, $14.28, $18 and $0. The fact is, despite the outliers we hear about, the great majority of the most commonly used medications are affordable. In checking the possible side effects of one prescription, I discovered unanticipated benefits. It causes hair to grow on your head and reduces the desire for alcohol. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be prone to either side effect—at least not yet.

My confinement has led to boredom. My motivation to do much of anything has waned. I’m watching more TV than ever before. Did you know you can still watch Laurel and Hardy and Ozzie and Harriet?

I’ve also learned how easy it is to shop online. I used to be amazed at the number of packages arriving daily for an elderly lady in our building. Now, I understand. Online shopping is addictive, especially when you’re bored or lonely.

I started by innocently exploring a few things on Amazon. Just necessities, don’t you know. Then I was duped by Facebook ads. The Irish sausages looked interesting. I’m always up for bangers and mash, as well as white pudding. I moved on to a site for assorted snacks, candy and pretzels. Then there’s the ice cream. What a selection. Luckily, I was saved because there’s no room in our freezer, otherwise it would have been filled with butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. Charles Chips brought back memories, too. We used to buy them off the company’s truck. Now you buy them online.

Even shopping for regular groceries can get out of hand. Just search and click, no aisles to walk. They say you’re prone to buy more if you shop while hungry. Imagine you’re hungry—and bored. Did I need those bags of popcorn, the raspberry ice tea or that can of corned beef hash? Hey, I ordered organic celery, too.

I claim to have a modicum of frugality. That seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Oh my, what can happen when you have time on your hands. It’s so easy, choose your purchase, add your credit card info and check out. It’s like EZ-Pass. Who pays tolls? You just drive through the toll booth. It’s all free—at least until the end of the month.

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